Michael Hastings, a contributor to Rolling Stone and BuzzFeed, died on Tuesday morning in a fiery automobile accident in Los Angeles at the age of 33. The engine of the 2013 Mercedes he was driving was found a hundred feet from the burned out ruin of the car itself. When the accident took place, local residents thought a bomb had exploded. The Los Angeles Police Department immediately ruled out foul play. In a Tweet, the Wikileaks organization said, "Michael Hastings contacted WikiLeaks lawyer Jennifer Robinson just a few hours before he died, saying that the FBI was investigating him."
He is best known for his 2010 Rolling Stone profile of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, then commander of US Military forces in Afghanistan. He portrayed McChrystal as being openly contemptuous of civilian authority, and printed quotes from McChrystal so insubodinate that the President felt compelled to dismiss him.
The last article he wrote, published June 7 by BuzzFeed, he discussed revelations that the National Security Agency was harvesting even larger amounts of phone and Internet information than has already been revealed. "Perhaps more information will soon be forthcoming," he said.
Although it isn't entirely clear, many believe that the Obama administration has asserted the right to assassinate American citizens within the United States, without charges or any legal process, or has that right under anti-terrorism laws now on the books. In a letter to Senator Rand Paul in March of 2013, Attorney General Eric Holder stated, "It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States."
EDITOR'S NOTE: The point of this story is not that we believe that Michael Hastings was assassinated, but that, because he was working in an area that the government considers extremely sensitive and was under FBI investigation, we can never know. This is because the government has claimed an extra-judicial power to kill its enemies, even American citizens on American soil, without notice and without trial.